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Everything You Need To Know About iOS 14 And How It Is Reshaping The Mobile Marketing Landscape

  • Updated: 01 October 2020
  • 4 min read

Apple announced its latest operating system for iPhones, the iOS 14, at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 22, 2020. On 16 September 2020, iOS 14 will be available to all iPhones running iOS 13. Here's a list of what's new and how mobile marketers can adapt to these changes quickly.

1. User tracking will require explicit permission from mobile users

The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a random string of numbers and letters assigned by Apple to specific devices that acts as a unique identifier. Mobile marketers and advertisers use this to deliver personalized advertising without knowing the personal details of the device's user. IDFA also helps marketers attribute app installs of certain in-app events to specific marketing campaigns.

In iOS 14, your app will have to now explicitly ask the user's permission to get the device's IDFA via a pop-up. By default, a user is opted out right from when they launch an app. iOS developers from your team can refer to the AppTrackingTransparency documentation provided by Apple to comply with this change.

This is a huge blow for mobile marketing because, without accurate attribution information, the efficiency of a marketing campaign drops significantly, regardless of the nature of the app.

User opt-in for app tracking in iOS14 (IDFA tracking)

User opt-in for app tracking in iOS14 (IDFA tracking)

Does this mean the end of attribution in mobile marketing?

Nope! Apple is recommending a new framework for attribution, the SKAdNetwork, which mobile marketers can use to measure ad campaign performance while respecting the user's privacy. iOS developers can check out the documentation here. We're yet to see how effective this will be for accurately measuring attribution, as opposed to IDFA tracking.

MoEngage's technology partner, Adjust, has suggested the use of Fingerprinting as an alternative to SKAdNetwork. In this method, marketers can use a set of unique configurations for each mobile device and map it to specific users. This will also allow mobile marketers to attribute their marketing campaign performances within MoEngage's dashboard, and take better, data-driven decisions. You can learn about attribution tracking in MoEngage here.

2. The battle for user attention gets fiercer in the App Library

In iOS14, a new space called App Library is added toward the end of an iPhone's Homescreen. The App Library automatically organises all of a user’s apps into simple, easy-to-navigate cards, and intelligently suggests mobile apps that may be helpful in real-time. Think of it as a scaled-down version of the App Store.

app library app categorization in iOS 14

App library categorization in iOS 14

As you can see, apps that are in the same category will be put together in clusters. Though this comes as a boon to mobile users, it makes things tougher for mobile marketers. After winning the user's attention in the App Store, your mobile app has to now fight for engagement in the Homescreen.

Is this the best time to optimize the performance of your marketing channels?

YES! The launch of App Library will now force marketers to be more creative with other marketing channels, primarily push notifications. Keeping this in mind, our product team at MoEngage recently launched Push Templates, enabling mobile marketers to create beautiful and attractive push notifications without coding or design help.

3. Show the value of your app with App Clips

Imagine a mobile app ecosystem where the user can download an app temporarily to use it for a specific function like renting a vehicle or purchasing a coffee. Apple has taken a giant stride toward this with the launch of App Clips in iOS14. An App Clip is a small part of an app experience that is designed to be discovered at the moment it is needed by the user.

App clips in iOS 14 will improve discoverability and brand affinity

App clips in iOS 14 will improve discoverability and brand affinity

This comes as great news to mobile marketers as Apple is improving discoverability by allowing users to experience the best parts of your app. After the user is done, you can offer the opportunity to download your full app from the App Store.

In the ever-changing landscape of mobile consumption, where habits change overnight, it is important to get users addicted to your app. By allowing users to get a taste of what you have to offer, you can improve user engagement and reduce user churn as well! iOS developers in your team can refer to this documentation by Apple to create an App Clip.

4. More transparency and control to the user

App Store product pages will soon start featuring summaries of self-reported privacy practices by mobile brands and developers. This information will be displayed in a simple, easy-to-understand format in the App Store.

Giving more transparency and control to the user

Giving more transparency and control to the user

Apple has also taken steps to ensure iPhone users are more in control of what information of theirs is accessible by third-party mobile apps. iOS 14 users will have the option to choose to share their approximate location with your app rather than their precise location. For weather and news apps, this could mean a slight disruption in your marketing campaigns that rely on your user's location information. 

iOS 14 location settings

iOS 14 location settings

It is safe to say Apple has shaken the foundation of mobile marketing. The trend of respecting a user's privacy is a welcome move, and MoEngage is constantly working on ensuring your marketing campaigns aren't impacted by any of these changes. If you wish to speak to our team about how MoEngage can help your brand improve mobile marketing, you can speak to us here.

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About The Author
Pulkit drives growth through content at MoEngage. His experience as a B2B marketer comes fueled with a passion for user-centricity, affinity for data, and a love for technology, movies, comics, and gaming.
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